“We took a wrong turn one day trying to find a surf spot in Mexico and found ourselves in a local fishing village where we stopped for the night. When we woke up in the morning and walked outside there was a group of men who heckled us over. It was a fishing village where all the fishing was done at night, so all the local men would go out at night time, fish, and then start their knock-off drinks at seven in the morning. Everything was in Spanish so it was like playing charades, but we hung out with them and drank three bottles of tequila. One of the old guys who was about 90 gave us an avocado that he’d chopped up and salted, and then he proceeded to roll up a joint with fresh tobacco leaves he’d just been out foraging for.
Later, we went out on a boat with the village elder who was really drunk by this point and doing donuts on his boat for 20 minutes. We had a diving competition – we’d drive out, stop and whoever could dive and collect sand from the bottom won. Then we’d drive another 10 metres further and dive down again. I won and the guy got a bit nasty, but then he took us back to his house for dinner and made his daughter sing to us. She cooked us tortilla and eggs for dinner, it was awesome.
I want to go back to El Salvador. I went there last year and did a work-away with a buddy for a month. We ended up volunteering at this really nice surf beach at an eco lodge resort. My job was to upgrade the turtle sanctuary. We’d go out at night and buy eggs off of the local poachers, giving them a higher price than the restaurants would. We dug out the enclosure to get rid of eggs that hadn’t hatched, and replaced it with fresh sand, put a barrier around the outside and made a turtle map that had dates for when the turtles would hatch – somewhere between 40 and 60 days. They’d hatch in the enclosure, and then we’d put them in a little pond near the base of the beach and hold them until night so they’d have a head start. They’re meant to release themselves at night, but sometimes they’d go for it during the day when they’d have no chance, and the odds are only 5% survival at the best. I reckon we released about 100 baby turtles over the month.”